NW woman reaches the wolrd’s most remote places
By Sheila Allen
NW Baptist Convention
EUGENE, Ore — “I’m not living the dream, but I am living the calling,” said Alana Grant(1) to those gathered at the Women’s Forum held during the annual meeting of the Northwest Baptist Convention. Grant told stories of her first three years as a career missionary in Southeast Asia, where she works with an indigenous people group. “I spend a lot of time trekking up in the mountains,” Grant said…
“My supervisor said we were to go to this little mountain area, meet with believers and teach basic beliefs. I just had this inner sigh, a groan really. To get to this area you have to take a tiny airplane that lands on a gravel air strip. The planes are really shady, some doors don’t close all the way and people bring all kinds of items on board, including animals. Once you land you have a two to three day walk, uphill. I’m very clumsy and this was the rainy season, with the trail covered in moss, so I’m slipping and sliding.”
Grant went on to tell the gathering of the various perils in the area, such as leeches, tiny outhouses and boiled potatoes and corn for breakfast.
“I love and respect my supervisor and went on this trip because I knew it was what I was supposed to do, but I didn’t really want to,” Grant said. ”I thought at the time I was not living the dream. I thought I would be married by age 30, have an amazing job and driving a great car.”
The team then began their time with about 20 believers in a little building tucked in the middle of nowhere. They discussed basics of the Christian faith including worship, tithing and baptism. Suddenly a big discussion erupted among the locals because while they are believers, many have not yet been baptized.
“To be baptized means you totally turn your back on Buddhist background,” Grant noted. “With these particular people, this means you could be kicked out of your home or village, which has happened to some. A blind woman was among this particular group and because of her disability, her parents were in control of her life, because they could not arrange a marriage for her. No one among the group of believers was prepared to take care of her if she was baptized and was disowned.”
The group took a break for hot tea and lunch. After the meal the blind woman came back with another bag with a change of clothing. She realized God had commanded her to be baptized and with evidence of her courage, another seven people decided to join her. Guitars and drums were produced and the whole group hiked for an hour to a waterfall, singing and dancing along the way. Rocks were used to build up a pool and each of the group were baptized.
“This really made me reevaluate my faith,” Grant said. “Was I prepared for my family’s rejection? I had never really experienced that kind of sacrifice for my faith and it really shook me up. God really worked in the hearts of the students who were there with us. Though this life was never my dream, God’s dreams are much better than mine and a better car pales in comparison. Even though I sometimes question God’s call, he had enough grace to call me anyway. This has taught me so much more than I can teach others.”
Since returning to the states, Grant has seen many other people groups as she has traveled the cities of the Northwest.
“If you haven’t engaged someone of another culture, you may be doing something wrong,” Grant said. “The people of the world are here, especially in the Northwest, and I would encourage you to encounter the world. The loneliest woman in America is wearing a burqa. They could be extremely educated, but we don’t know it because we don’t talk to them.”
Grant implored participants with the teaching that the calling that Jesus gave his disciples to go to all nations is the same calling he gave to her and all believers.
(1) Name changed for security reasons.
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